I spoke a few days ago about replacing my current MP3 player, a 5th Gen iPod (Video). At the time, I was trying to mainly decide between the Samsung P2 and the Cowon D2. Both feature touchscreen interfaces. The Samsung had the superior user interface and aesthetics/size, while the Cowon had significantly better media format support, expandable memory, and a cheaper price tag. However, as luck would have it, the Samsung P2 8GB was on sale at Futureshop this week for $199- even less than the 4GB version, which retails for $219! With the price tag issue out of the way, it made dealing with the media support and lack of expandable memory much easier. So here I am with my new Samsung P2 8GB (black). Thus far, I’m very impressed with the player.
I’ll save the real nitty-gritty for the full review, but here are some first impressions.
The device is extremely sleek. Apple may get all the attention for industrial design of its MP3 players, but recently Samsung has put together a bunch of aesthetically pleasing designs. While not necessarily the innovator in design, Samsung can really push the boundaries of design when they put their attention to it. Just look at their cell phones. Motorola may have initiated the ‘thin’ craze in the market, but Samsung most definitely owns that segment now. The P2 is clearly designed along the same principles as the Apple iPod Touch, but that’s not to say it’s a copy-cat. In fact, the entirely black design (or white or burgundy if those better match your tastes) seems more… mature.
In terms of size, it’s not significantly smaller than the iPod Video it’s replacing, but the difference is noticeable. It’s around half a centimeter shorter, 1 mm thinner, and 1 centimeter narrower. (In comparison to the iPod Touch, which is what it’ll be most likened to, it’s 1.5 centimeters shorter, 2 mm thicker and 1 centimeter narrower.) More importantly, it’s less than 2/3rds the weight. Don’t be fooled – the reduced weight is due to the lack of a hard disk – its build quality is very good and feels solid. A screen provider is provided, but even without it, the front of the device seems quite resistant to scratching (I’m not one to actively test this theory though) unlike the iPod.
The most prominent feature is the 3″ (widescreen) touchscreen with a resolution of 480×272. It’s gorgeous. It doesn’t support the neat multi-touch feature of the iPod Touch/iPhone, but navigating the menu systems are a breeze. Be aware that it’s double-tap to select items in the artist list, for example (unlike the iPod Touch/iPhone). I’ve seen numerous hands-on videos that show the user hitting an item once, not having it do anything other than highlight it, and chalk it up to the ‘unresponsive touchscreen’. There’s definitely a slight learning curve to get the various gestures down, such as skipping songs or navigating the interesting ‘Cosmos’ menu system, but once you get it, you’ll understand what the display wants for an accurate translation of your action. Among other things, battery life and sound output are extremely impressive, but you’ll have to wait for the comprehensive review for more details.
The bottom line is, the Samsung YP-P2 is a solid choice if you’re looking for a touchscreen MP3 device. At it’s MSRP of $269CAD for the 8GB, it’s a bit of an iffy value proposition, especially with it being so close in price to the iPod Touch. However, at $200, it provides a very classy alternative that has its own set of unique features.